The Vermont Institute of Natural Science recently welcomed Food Network star Rachael Ray to the VINS Nature Center in Quechee. On Wednesday July 22nd, Rachael and her husband, John Cusimano, lead singer of the band The Cringe, visited VINS to film a segment for Rachael s popular television show, Rachael s Vacations.During their visit, Rachael and John were given a personal tour of VINS natural science exhibits, live birds of prey enclosures, and avian rehabilitation facilities by VINS naturalists. “Our staff was really impressed by Rachael s interest in VINS environmental education programs and rehabilitation work. It was an honor to have her and John choose the VINS Nature Center from among all the exciting visitor destinations in this region, and we appreciate the national media exposure she is giving us,” commented VINS president John Dolan.Rachael and her husband got an up-close look at a few of VINS resident raptors, including an American Kestrel, a Red-tailed Hawk and a Great Horned Owl. The celebrity couple also participated in one of the most important events held at the VINS Nature Center: the release of successfully rehabilitated wild birds. With guidance from VINS naturalists, they released five yellow-bellied sapsuckers to excited applause from onlookers.Rachael s Vacations will air the segment on VINS and the VINS Nature Center in early 2010. Rachael s Vacations takes Rachael and John across the country to discover how to “rough it” in style, showing viewers new ways to enjoy the outdoors, 21st Century style. From river rafting in Upstate New York, to waking up in a cozy Bed & Breakfast on a Vermont farm, Rachael uses her unique take on travel and lifestyle to offer fresh and affordable ways to enjoy the great American outdoors.Founded in 1972, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) is a non-profit, member-supported environmental education, research and avian rehabilitation organization headquartered in Quechee, Vermont. VINS mission is to motivate individuals and communities to care for the environment with a priority placed on making high-quality, compelling and fun environmental education programs and learning opportunities accessible to more people and communities.Source: VINS. July 28, 2009 – Quechee, VT –
“Beyond a target level of 115% the BVK will have the necessary buffers to absorb volatilities on the financial markets,” the fund said. Improvements to benefits would also be possible, it added.The BVK was among the first Swiss Pensionskassen to make drastic cuts to its technical parameters in 2016 in order to accommodate for increasing longevity and the low interest rate environment.Despite these cuts many organisations opted to stay with the fund, making the BVK the largest Swiss Pensionskasse by member numbers. The pension fund has 118,800 members, 2.8% more than a year earlier.Last week, Publica, the largest pension fund by assets, reported a return of 6.7% on its CHF39bn in assets.However, the pension fund for the federal government and other institutions runs both closed portfolios – which are less flexible in their asset allocation – as well as open ones.The open funds within Publica make up CHF36bn of its assets and have, among other things, a higher allocation to emerging markets. They returned just over 7% on average.This is still below the 7.82% calculated by UBS as the market average for Swiss Pensionskassen – “the best result since 2009”, the bank said.The analysts confirmed that equities were the main driver for performance. On average Pensionskassen have 29.8% of their portfolios invested in equities.Using a different sample for its calculations, Credit Suisse reported a market average investment return of 8%.Meanwhile, Swisscanto’s monitor showed a 7.2% return for the market. It also reported that private-sector Pensionskassen were on average 113% funded, compared to 99% for public sector funds. The CHF33bn (€27bn) BVK Pensionskasse for the Swiss canton of Zurich reported a return of 9% for 2017.Returns were mainly boosted by equities, which can make up as much as 40% of the pension fund’s portfolio according to its strategic asset allocation.“The highest results were achieved by equities from emerging markets with a return of 32%,” the BVK noted in a press release.According to preliminary calculations – the final ones will be available in spring with the annual report – the pension fund has achieved a 100% funding level, up from 92.6% a year before.
Many with their ear to the USC administration have been speculating for a few years now that President Steven B. Sample would be stepping down, but Monday’s announcement that he will be retiring in August was a bombshell nonetheless.Sample’s retirement will mark the end of an era in which USC has evolved into a leading research university, and raises serious questions about the university’s future — chief among them whether Sample’s successor can maintain the level of success he established in his time as president.Words of wisdom · President Steven B. Sample has taught a highly selective leadership course with management expert Warren Bemis. – Photo courtesy of USCOver the last two decades, Sample has had awide-ranging effect on the university. He has catapulted its academic standards, expanded its outreach into the community and made it a destination for students in dozens of states and dozens of countries.And Sample’s prolific fundraising efforts have enabled the significant capital improvements that give USC’s campus a vastly different face from that of 20 years ago.The impact of many of Sample’s accomplishments may not be clear for years. But after nearly two decades, his influence is felt in nearly every aspect of university life, and his retirement will leave a gaping hole in the president’s office.Sample’s announcement was hardly shocking. His Parkinson’s disease has grown worse in recent years; at one event in Washington, DC last spring, the president’s hand shook violently at times, although his voice remained sturdy during a speech to alumni. The university also announced that Sample would not be teaching his popular leadership class this year, claiming it was retooling the curriculum.Sample said the disease was not a major factor in his decision to step down from his post, according to the Los Angeles Times. Instead, he said, he wanted to step down while he was ahead.Whatever the reason, replacing a president like Sample will be no small task for the university. The Board of Trustees will likely approach leading university figures across the country and even look internationally in its effort to find a successor by May.But there are signs that USC may be looking within its own ranks. Although it is uncommon for major schools to promote a president from within, recent signs have pointed to Executive Vice President and Provost C.L. Max Nikias as a likely option.Earlier this year, the university bumped Nikias’ title from provost to executive vice president. Board of Trustees Chairman Edward P. Roski Jr. also confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Nikias was a contender for the position.Either way, the next president will face a number of challenges in continuing the streak of success Sample established.Sample’s successor will take over at a time when the university’s finances have taken a hit. The school is still in a hiring freeze, and its endowment has lost about $1.2 billion over the last year. The financial challenges have also affected the school’s ability to offer financial aid and its ability to expand.If the USC of today looks fundamentally different than the one Sample inherited in 1991, then his successor will be facing a school that hardly resembles the USC of just five years ago.Perhaps most significantly, the next president will be taking over at a key moment in the development of the university’s Master Plan, a framework for expanding the University Park Campus over the next few decades.The proposed changes to student housing around campus, including creating 7,600 beds in the North University Park, could completely alter the look and feel of USC in the coming years and have a substantial impact on those that live in the neighborhood.Sample made cooperation with the community a key aspect of his tenure, and his successor will have to grapple with the task of balancing the school’s physical growth and the changing nature of the Figueroa Corridor with the increasingly tenuous relationship with its neighbors.As the board begins the search for a successor who can handle the complex task of managing a university with USC’s size, many are hoping Sample will continue to be a presence at the university and plan to use the rest of the year to bid farewell to the man who brought USC into the 21st century.